It only took a few days after Thomas Menino announced that he would not be running for reelection this fall for almost every political reporter to start wildly speculating who might be entering the race to replace Boston’s longest-serving mayor.
In one fell swoop last week, Menino blew open this year’s municipal elections by announcing that after 20 years in office he would not run again.
This is the same man that most political junkies swore would die in office.
Even after former Phoenix reporter David Bernstein broke the news on Twitter that Menino would be announcing his retirement on Thursday, wannabe pundits were insisting that it was all just the mayor fucking with everyone—conveniently close to April Fools’ Day.
With Menino out of picture, City Councilor John Connolly is suddenly being viewed as the front-runner in a race that was originally expected to end his political career. Connolly just has to fend off what will likely be a large field of challengers.
The reputation of Menino’s political machine as an unstoppable monolith has been running on fumes.
Menino couldn’t help John O’Toole defeat Frank Baker in 2011’s open race for District 3 Councilor in Dorchester.
The mayor got some credit for boosting Boston’s voters in support of Elizabeth Warren in last year’s race for U.S. Senate. Although Menino’s people probably helped get more voters to the poll, to give the win to Menino fails recognize the impact of Scott Brown’s special brand of smarmy, arrogant prickishness had on his loss.
The other question about Menino’s machine is whether or not it could be splintered if multiple supposed protégé’s of the mayor step into the ring. Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley and City Councilor Rob Consalvo are both being watched carefully for bid announcements.
In the past, municipal races in Boston have been relatively easy to predict.
Double down on the Mayor, whoever else he backs for the Council, and you have a good shot at predicting the election results.
That rule is no longer the case. And the next few months will likely bring a series of random guesses about who is running and who has the best shot at winning. In hindsight, most of the articles—including my own—will stand as absurdly inept attempts at prediction.
Since the odds are already against me, I probably don’t need to bother making my prediction remotely believable.
So I’ll go with my guess that the next mayor of Boston will be a dumbfounded City Councilor Charles Yancey … but only after State Rep. Marty Walsh misreads signals from his not-actually-Mafioso union pals and sends a horse head to Dan Conley’s home, causing the district attorney to get sidetracked hunting organized crime boogey men, while John Connolly and Tito Jackson blow their shots with a public fist fight at a campaign stop
and Rob Consalvo fails to pull off a Weekend at Bernie’s ploy to hide the dead prostitute an aide left in his car.